Monday, July 29, 2013

Moist Chocolate Banana Bread/Cake


I have had this recipe done and pictures taken for over a month now. But because I got the attack of the lazies, I never got down to sharing it. This was made during one of my so called "tea parties" - a few of my friends, we get together and meet for tea once every week. We take turns hosting the tea. And so it happened that I made this chocolate banana bread the last time I hosted it. I am happy to say that it was well liked by them. It is a very easy recipe to put together and makes for a great tea snack. It can also be had as a breakfast item coz it tastes great with butter! It is a really moist type of bread because of adding the bananas as well as sour cream!  If you have a couple of very ripe bananas that you would end up throwing, then dont! Make this or check out my other banana bread and banana muffins recipes, that can help in this scenario. 

6 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup sour cream
1.5 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips and chopped walnuts (optional)
3 tbsp milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer/whisk/spoon until fluffy. Add the sugar, and beat well. Add the egg, and beat that in.

Now add the bananas, sour cream, vanilla and the milk and mix well.

Add the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda, and stir them in. You can use an electric mixer if you like -- just make sure not to overmix, or the banana bread will get tough.

Stir in the chocolate chips. and walnuts. (You could leave out either one or both, it does not affect the recipe)

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the bread for atleast 20 minutes before you slice (or else it may break). Preferably have it warm and enjoy the feeling of a good comfort food!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Homemade Garlic Naan

Naan is a type of bread, which is very popular in India and other Asian countries. It is had along with spicy, thick gravies like paneer butter masala, ginger chicken, koftha curry etc. The dough is typically prepared using all purpose flour (maida) and yogurt. The dough has to ferment and acquire a natural sour taste. This will transform into fluffy, delicious Naan. We can either oven-bake these or like I prefer (and will detail below) cook on stove-top saucepan as well. So, without boring you with any further with unnecessary details, let me show you my recipe for this popular bread.

Below recipe can make about 12 medium sized Naans


3 1/2 cups of AP flour
1 1/4 cup of yogurt
1 1/4 Tsp of Active Rise Yeast
1 tbsp garlic powder (or even freshly minced garlic if you prefer)
Some warm water (for soaking yeast as well as kneading the dough)
Salt to taste


Kneading dough:
  • Soak the yeast in about 3 tbsp of lukewarm water for around 10 to 15 minutes (Stir the yeast lightly)
  • Put the flour in a large bowl, add the salt and garlic powder and stir to mix the dry ingredients. Now make a well in the centre. Add the yeast water and yogurt directly to the centre and gently start folding in the flour using clean hands
  • As required, add lukewarm water and knead into a loose and sort of sticky dough
  • Cover the bowl with a cling wrap or a lid that fully covers. Set aside preferably for 4 hours. It can be kept out for a maximum of 6 hours. The dough will rise to double the original size.
Making the Naans:
  • Take out a chunk of dough the size of a big lemon (yes, we need to roll it out thick unlike our usual rotis)
  • Roll it into an oval shape using ur rolling pin using dry flour as needed so that the dough does not stick to the rolling pin. The naan needs to be thick hence ensure at least a quarter inch thickness
  • Use a shallow wide saucepan with a lid. Lightly butter it and place the rolled out dough. 
  • Drop very little butter on the Naan's topside as well. We can also drop some chopped coriander or poppy seeds, whatever one wishes). Now close the lid and let the Naan cook for about 2 to 3 minutes. The top of the Naan will start developing bubbles. Flip the Naan and again close lid and let cook for another 2 minutes or till you see that side is done (with intermittent brown patches, if you know what I mean all you Roti makers!)

Naan is ready, now just serve with some good North-Indian style gravy like Daal Makhani, or Paneer butter Masala or Chole or what you wish really! Make a side of chopped onions and green chillies and you have your favourite Indian restaurant on your very own dinner table ! Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Egg Biriyani Recipe

Yet another rice recipe! Biriyani is a rice dish that is guaranteed to make a lot of people drool. It is one of the tastiest recipes ever invented if you ask me. Easy as well. Chicken, shrimp, vegetable - all these are the usual types of biriyani. Not to leave out, egg biriyani! This is one of my go-to recipes to get lunch ready on the table in less an hour. Let me share my version, adapted from the recipe of  famous Indian chef, Sanjeev Kapoor.

Total time - 1 hour
Serves 4


7 or 8 eggs
2 1/4 cups Basmati Rice
1 medium onion, cut into long slices
2 medium onions finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
6 or 7 green chillies, chopped
1 tbsp garlic paste (preferably fresh garlic)
1 tbsp ginger paste
About 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ghee
Whole Spices:
1 star anise
4 or 5 cloves
6 cardamom seeds
2 or 3 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon (alternately about 1 Tsp cinnamon)
Ground spices:
1/2 Tsp turmeric powder
1 Tsp red chilly powder
1/2 Tsp ground garam masala (optional)
1 1/2 Tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste

  • Boil the eggs till they are hard boiled. Cut each into half, length-wise and set them aside.
  • Soak the rice for 20 minutes in water and then cook till 90 % done (add some salt and about 1 Tsp ghee). Once cooked, fluff it with a fork so that the rice does not stick together. Set aside
  • In a deep pan, add some ghee and caramelize the long cut onions. Set aside on a tissue paper
  • In same pan, add the oil and heat on medium low. Saute the whole spices for about a minute
  • Add chopped onions to this and caramelize. Then add the green chillies, saute for a minute, and secondly add the ginger and garlic paste. Fry till raw smell is gone
  • Add chopped tomatoes and stir. Now add all the ground spices including salt. Cover and simmer cook till oil separates from this masala
  • Add the boiled egg pieces, stir gently just till the masala covers the pieces and cover and simmer cook for about a minute
  • Finally add the cooked rice, top it with coriander leaves and caramelized onions. Gently stir.
  • Cover pan with aluminium foil, then place its lid. This ensures that no steam will come out
  • Finally, place the pan on another flat pan (dosa pan) placed on very low heat and dum-cook the biriyani for about 20 to 30 minutes (Dum cooking can also be done your oven, just place the lightly mixed biriyani in an oven-safe dish, cover with aluminium foil and bake in a pre-heated oven (350 degree F) for about 10 minutes.

Serve this hot with some raita. There is nothing better than a spicy biriyani as a tasty lunch option.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Simple Brinjal/Eggplant Fry as snack or side dish!

This post is about a very easy and quick snack which is eggplant (or brinjal) fry. This recipe has it all. Really really easy to prepare, a handful of ingredients and the tastiest result! What more could we ask? It can even be had as a side dish with rice and daal/rajma.chole. It adds just the right amount of spicy-ness. Here is the recipe -

Recipe customized from


1 large Eggplant/Brinjal
For dry marinade:
1 1/2 Tsp Turmeric powder
2 Tsp Red Chilly Powder
Salt to taste
3 Tsp Rice Flour

  • Prepare a dry marinade by mixing all ingredients mentioned under 'For dry marinade' above. No need to add any water or oil
  • Cut the eggplant into thin round slices
  • Spread the dry marinade onto a plate with your hands. Now coat each eggplant slice on both sides with this. Since the eggplant has its own natural moisture, this will help the dry marinade to stick on both sides. Keep placing coated eggplant slices in a separate plate (to be fried at once)
  • In a wide low saucepan, pour about 2 tbsp oil, spread evenly and place as many eggplant slices as will fit. Fry each side for about 3 minutes or till done
  • Remove onto a wide plate with tissue paper. This helps remove excess oil
Thats it! So simple and quick. Plus eggplants are so easy to cut into slices. It is not required to peel them, but if you would rather peel them, then do go ahead. It tastes good any which way!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Vellarikka Vanpayaru Erissery Recipe

Vanpayaru erissery is my Mom's specialty. I guess, for me, nobody does it better. I remember getting excited and drooling on the days my mother was preparing this in kitchen. This curry has that quintessential Malayali taste, of coconut. And this is one taste I and my husband just love! This curry is perfect for a regular lunch meal or even a Sadhya (Kerala feast).
My mother almost always made this with Mathanga (or pumpkin). But, I tried this with Vellarikka (cucumber) and it came out just as good. Folks who want the sweet taste of pumpkin can just replace the cucumber in this recipe with pumpkin.
We usually eat this with cabbage thoran or kaya-chena mezhukkuperutti and rice. It always reminds me of home!

Here is the recipe-

1 whole Vellarikka (cucumber), cubed
1 cup Vanpayaru (red cow peas)
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
3 long green chillies
1 cup grated coconut
1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds
1 Tsp Mustard seeds
3 or 4 dry red chillies
Curry leaves to season
1 Tsp turmeric powder (manjal podi)
1 Tsp red chilly powder (mulagu podi)
1/2 Tsp pepper
1/2 Tsp coriander powder (malli podi)
 Salt to taste
About 1 Tbsp oil

  • Pressure cook the Vanpayaru (red cow peas) with turmeric powder, red chilly powder and 3 times water for about 10 whistles (One way to reduce the cooking time and water is to pre-soak the peas with salt for about 5 - 6 hours)
  • Now, open the cooker, add the Vellarikka (cucumber pieces) and some salt and pressure cook again for about 4 whistles. Once done, open cooker. If the peas and cucumber look very well cooked, this step is done
  • Next, grind together 1/2 cup grated coconut, green chillies, cumin seeds and chopped onion till we get a fine paste. The consistency is that of the coconut chutney made for dosa (not runny)
  • Add this paste into the cooker with the cooked payaru (peas) and cucumber and let the curry so far slowly come to boil
  • In a separate saucepan, spurt mustard seeds in the oil, roast the dry red chillies, lower the flame and add the remaining 1/2 cup grated coconut, pepper and coriander powder. Let the mixture roast on low flame till the coconut changes to brown colour
  • Then, add this mixture into the boiling curry, lower flame, let simmer cook for about 1 minute
  • Remove from heat and add curry leaves to season
Erissery is ready. Now all you need is some hot rice and pappad. Go a step ahead and have this with a Kerala dry side dish. It should pretty much be your best lunch ever!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Long Cucumber/Kakkarikka Pachadi

This one I learnt from my mother-in-law. Some days when she makes Sambar and Mezhukkuperatti (Kerala dry side dish usually made with Ghee), she also makes this simple pachadi.
Pachadi is an authentic Kerala side dish with a gravy made of coconut and yogurt. We can put the vegetable of our choice, and in this one we only put cucumber. We can literally prepare this in 20 minutes. So if you're planning on bringing up a Kerala feast and want a curry to go well with Sambar, believe you me, this is the one. It has a very fresh, crunchy taste.

Here goes-
Serves 4 - 5


1/2 of a long cucumber
2/3 cup grated coconut
2/3 cup of yogurt
3 green chillies
1 Tsp cumin seeds
1/2 Tsp pepper
3 dry red chillies
1 Tsp Mustard seeds
1 Tbsp oil
Some curry leaves
Some Salt to taste

  • Cut the cucumber into small pieces
  • In a blender, add grated coconut, yogurt, green chillies, cumin seeds, pepper and salt. Blend into a fine paste
  •  Add the above paste to the cucumber and mix well
  • In a saucepan, roast the the mustard seeds and dry red chillies in oil. Add the curry leaves. 
  • Add the cucumber-coconut-yogurt gravy to this and heat on low flame for about 5-8 minutes
Cucumber Pachadi is ready. See, how easy and quickly this can be made. Those days of the week when I prepare sambar and some Thoran/Mezhukkuperutti, if I have cucumber in the fridge I make this curry. The taste of yogurt and the crunch of fresh cucumber is a perfect counter-balance for Sambar-rice. Top this with Pappadams and you're good to go!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tangy Tomato Rice - Ready in half an Hour!

When I hear about tomato rice, I remember my school days. One of my Tamilian friends used to bring this frequently for lunch and we all used to lunge at it! Poor girl! But that is the thing with such types of rice preparations, be it tomato rice, lemon rice or spinach pulao. They are spicy and so fun to eat. They are also pretty filling I would say. No side dish needed for these if you ask me. Just get your plate-full and attack! Oh, and did I mention these are super easy to cook? Yep, it just takes 30 minutes to get this on your dining table. Lets get cracking!

Recipe customized from


2 cups White Rice (such as Basmati/Sona Masoori)
2 large Tomatoes, chopped
Half an Onion, chopped
3 Green Chillies, chopped
1 Tsp Ginger Paste (or finely chopped ginger)
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
About 2 tbsps Chana Daal (optional)
About 2 tbsps chopped Cashew nuts
1 Tsp Urad daal (optional)
2-3 red chillies
1/2 Tsp Red Chilly Powder
1/2 Tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste
Asafoetida (or Heeng) to taste
Curry Leaves and Coriander Leaves for seasoning

  • Cook the rice (Microwave method - Add 4 cups of water and microwave for approximately 15 minutes)
  • In a wide enough saucepan, heat oil and spurt mustard seeds then cumin seeds
  • Add the red chillies, chana daal and urad daal. Saute till they slightly change colour
  • Reduce heat to low and add the cashewnuts and roast till they are light brown
  • Add the curry leaves, ginger paste, green chillies and onions and saute till onions are slightly cooked (not completely, as tomato rice needs to have a bit crunchy onion slices)
  • Now, add the chopped tomatoes, sprinkle salt and asafoetida, stir well and close the lid. Let cook for about 5 minutes
  • Open lid and add the chilly powder and garam masala. Again close lid and cook till the tomatoes are mushy and start leaving water.
  • If tomato masala is cooked well, we can add the rice. Mix the rice in well
  • Finally, season the top with coriander leaves and stir lightly
These steps took just 30 minutes for me overall. Supper was ready in a jiffy with no toiling in the kitchen at all. Perfect for those days when you know you are not upto being a "chef" in your kitchen but you (or your husband!) is craving something spicy!!